By Tom Eblen
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For women in business who need to affordably manufacture something you have designed, there is a place where you can go online and get it done…it is called “Maketime.” The company’s online network connects small business owners with big companies that have spare machinery to get the job done.
Drura Parrish started MakeTime with a simple idea: There should be an online marketplace where people who want to make things could connect with people who have the spare machinery to do it.
Eighteen months after the Lexington-based company was founded, that idea is turning out to be a pretty good one.
The company now has 40 employees in Lexington. It also has 12 employee programmers in Ukraine, because Parrish says he couldn’t find enough programming talent locally.
Although the privately held company doesn’t disclose revenues or profits, Parrish said business has far exceeded his expectation of $2 million in gross transactions during its first year.
The company has raised nearly $12 million in investment capital, including $8 million from the Foundry Group of Boulder, Colo., which was announced last week. Earlier funding came from Almaz Capital and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp., which Parrish said has been a big supporter of the company’s vision.
MakeTime has just reached a strategic partnership with Autodesk, a leading maker of the computer-aided design software used to create everything from machine gears to skyscrapers.
That is especially important, Parrish said, because engineering and design software now drives advanced manufacturing.
Autodesk’s AutoCAD is an industry standard that in recent years has become both more sophisticated and more affordable to use.
“One of the crucial components of the future of making things is the democratization of design,” Parrish said. “Autodesk has a huge commitment to lowering the barriers of entry.”